Romanian-born German creates a bread that does not leave crumbs to be baked next year on the ISS
Romanian-born German Sebastian Marcu, the owner of the company Bake in Space, has come up with a bread that does not leave crumbs and can be baked in space, with the product to be tested on the International Space Station next year.
The properties of the bread that do not leave crumbs are linked to the sourdough that requires a special microbe culture, as well as to the baking process.
Eating bread is forbidden in space, because the crumbs would float throughout the whole space vehicle and are difficult to collect.
The first and last time when bread was eaten aboard a spaceship was in 1965, when members of the Gemeni 3 mission illicitly took a sandwich with them.
Developing the technology for a bread that does not leave crumbs costs 3 million Euros in its first stage, according to founder Sebastian Marcu, who collaborates with the German Airspace Center.
”The stake of an EUR 3 million first phase is not only improving the quality of life for outer space missions and later for space exploration but also selling on Earth sourdough cultures made in space,” Sebastian Marcu declares.
Sebastian Marcu is working with several partners in order to create a special oven to bake the bread in space. Security regulations aboard the International Space Station do not allow high electricity consumption, as well as generating high temperatures.
Therefore, the oven in which the bread would be baked should have ten times less power than the ones used on Earth for an electric bread oven, and the temperature emitted in the exterior should not go over 45 degrees centigrade.
“Our long-term goal is addressing the scientific and technical challenges related to the production of fresh bread in space by re-creating the value chain from grain to baked bread in microgravity and being able to offer a freshly baked slice of home to astronauts and space tourists. Our mission will contribute to laying the foundations for the future of human well-being in space,” Marcu said.
The quality of life in space
Marcu says that such restrictions make life aboard the International Space Station rather uncomfortable. He adds that if people will want to undergo long-term space missions, such as a trip to Mars, comfort becomes a necessity so that the astronauts work efficiently.
“The current quality of life offered in the International Space Station is not a sustainable condition for humans, and is part of the problem that makes it difficult to send astronauts further to Moon and Mars for extended periods of time and make space accessible for tourism,” Marcu explained.
The bread oven will be manufactured by company OHB System AG, specialised in equipment used in space.
The oven should be ready for testing in February 2018. Baking the bread would be the task for German astronaut Alexander Gerst, aboard the International Space Station.
Baking of the bread would then be supervised and controlled by the team left on Earth, who will be able to follow the baking process with the help of a heat-resistant camera. The project is at the moment supported by German investment agency BremenInvest (WFB).
”Each of the project stages will be funded through investors and sponsors who can also contribute their technological know-how to the project. At the moment we are in discussions with different global brands that are interested in gaining technology know-how, brand visibility, and a commercial advantage by becoming part of our project. Later in the year, we will reveal who our partners are for phase 1 of the project,” Sebastian Marcu further said.
He says that the business might have several applications, such as selling on Earth a sourdough made in space. “We expect that sourdough from space will have its own unique flavour,” Marcu concluded.